Our latest release was born from a desire to forge new relationships with craftspeople and designers regardless of postal code and work with the very best creators across the globe.
We interview Tarvas founder Jukka Lehtinen to gain insights into his creative process and learn about his journey in footwear.
TG: Starting your own footwear brand is no easy task. What gave you the fortitude to take the plunge?
Jukka: The idea slowly developed in our minds while working for other shoe companies. We saw how most of them do business which was not exactly resonating with our values. So we started to think about creating our own shoe brand which would do things differently.
You know, why create a collection of 10 shoe models if you really are better off with a couple really good and functional ones? Why not source the materials as close to home as possible to lessen the environmental impact and while at it, why not also produce the shoes locally?
Not long after we came up with the first shoe design, the Explorer, we started to craft the prototypes in our workshop in Helsinki. The first steps felt good and promising so we had no excuses but to go ahead.
"The weather up here (Finland) can be quite unpredictable and harsh if you are not equipped properly."
TG: How has the landscape of Finland shaped the identity of Tarvas as a brand?
Jukka: It has had a huge impact for sure. The big factor is climate. The weather up here can be quite unpredictable and harsh if you are not equipped properly. That is why we wanted to create a shoe that is stylish and functional. Also as Finland is a quite remote country the people are grown to do things their own way and not follow the mass trends that much. I like to think that also applies to Tarvas.
TG: What is the guiding principle of your design ethos?
Jukka: If we had to choose one that is definitely functionality. That is why we started designing the first Tarvas shoes and I think functionality also includes our "less is more" ethos. I should also mention that we are big fans of the German design legend Dieter Rams’ 10 Principles of Good Design.
"It’s amazing to see how there are more and more people who share the same mindset and values as we do."
TG: What is the most rewarding part of creating your own brand? What has been the most challenging?
Jukka: I’d say the most rewarding is just all the people that you meet along the way. It’s amazing to see how there are more and more people who share the same mindset and values as we do.
The most challenging part so far was to initially get the brand launched, 2 years ago. It took so many small things that we didn’t realise when we started. Many of them concerned production, but also other things like setting up accounting, creating EAN codes for each product or registering trademarks.
TG: If you could time travel back to when you started Tarvas, what is something you would tell yourself?
Jukka: Hmm… I would probably say that there will be long days ahead, but they are definitely worth it!